I’d been debating throwing this idea into a post, but I realized that (in my opinion), it’s a decent showing of what I watched when I began taking an interest in anime outside of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and the typical shounen types I’d grown up with. So, what shows got me into anime in general?
As a starting point, let me bring you back to 2011. It’s late July or early August and I’d just gotten a new television, setting it up in my mom’s basement in front of my favorite chair, excited to leave for my first semester at the university I’d decided to attend in around one month. And at that point, I watch thirteen different anime in the entirety of what I was able to watch, considering I used Netflix and another streaming site, though I can’t remember what that site was now.
I hadn’t seen much anime in my life yet, aside from the typical shounen stuff, the Big Three at the time, and a few others–like Prince of Tennis, and High School of the Dead, and Wolf’s Rain. And then everything changed. I was attracted to a few titles based solely on the pictures I saw on Netflix alone, so I started watching. And I didn’t stop, even if the show wasn’t good by any means–and believe me, some were bad.
It is at this time I became entranced in anime, in the way some stories are told, and how the characters grow (or don’t grow) and become better (or worse) as the story progresses. I’ll try to list the titles in the order I viewed them, but that might be a bit difficult. Anime was an escape from the sports I’d constantly played, the school work I’d been doing, and the constant shenanigans I had going with my friends at the time. It was a way for me to unwind and pull back into myself, to enjoy something that I felt I alone could enjoy.
I hopped onto Netflix and clicked five or six titles: Rosario+Vampire; Air Gear; Stigma of the Wind; Chrome Shelled Regios; Blassreiter; and Angel Beats (I think, it might have been Kenichi: the Mightiest Disciple). Anyway, I devoured them, watching upwards of eight episodes a day for all but Blassreiter, which I watched more slowly because it wasn’t good (I still saw the entire thing, though)…
And that’s really the first true exposure I had to anime. When I look back on all of these titles, I wonder why I watched them. Air Gear was ridiculous to me, and it wasn’t even the good ridiculous, like One Piece or other comedy anime are nowadays. It was straight ridiculous–something about gangs and kings and a split-personality character that was homosexual when his eye patch was on one side, but sadistic when it was on the other, or something? There were races, and fighting or something. Yeah, it wasn’t very good.
Honestly, all of the anime I’m about to list had a multitude of problems, but it being seven, almost eight years ago now, I don’t remember much about their stories. I remember a small amount of characters and how they acted. That’s it.
Rosario+Vampire? Well, yeah, a vampire girl, the guy whose blood she likes to drink, and then the vampire turns into a complete badass. Or something. That’s all I remember about that. I remember watching it, but nothing else sticks out.
Stigma of the Wind is another one I saw. Something about a family that’s attuned to fire magic, and one of their members has an affinity for wind. So he’s shunned or something? There was a fire user with a sword, too. All-in-all, probably a less than stellar anime since it really left no impact on me at all.
Chrome Shelled Regios stands out to me, though, because it was almost decent. There was a stereotypical powerful main character that hid who he was because something in his past….yadda yadda…okay. But, the whole fighting large insect monster things doesn’t sit well with me. It just doesn’t. And this main character is supposed to be one of the most powerful people on the planet–called a Heavens Blade or something–but he’s not using his personalized weapon? Character growth was a bit odd, the story was odd…all in all it was odd.
Blassreiter is one that I remember watching. That’s it. If you were to ever ask me if I’ve seen the show, I’ll tell you yes, but that’s all I can do. I don’t remember anything about it! It was one of the first anime I’d seen, so really that can sort of be forgiven considering it was upwards of nine to ten years ago, but still… Something tells me that Blassreiter was garbage and I should actually forget it.
And Angel Beats…oh Angel Beats. I love you. You made me laugh, smile, and cry. Angel Beats is one of those shows that I’ll never forget, because it stuck with me. Perhaps it was the whole purgatory-esque setting of the school, and the way that Otonashi developed, and Iwasawa’s story (I have an all-too-recent post on Iwasawa here), and Angel being Angel, a naive girl who is really just there to help people in all honesty… Ugh. Angel Beats….
And now, I watch all kinds of anime. I try my hand at random titles, I watch titles that are old for me if I feel like it (I was born in 1993, so I’m only 25 (26 on March 26–I’m golden, baby!)…the 90s is old for me), and I’ll go through titles that came out in the early- to mid-2000s for the “nostalgic” feeling they give me (like Wolf’s Rain). There’s just something about anime now that makes me happy. I think maybe it’s because I’ve stopped doing everything that I was doing previously, like through my younger school days of playing sports and always being outside with friends doing whatever it is we were doing. Now, anime is something I hold close to me, and if there’s a story that I can get into I’ll hop right into it.
Being alone also got me into anime. A few years ago (well, like five or six now), I was living alone and I wondered what I could watch. And anime was there. I watched a few titles and I started finding more and more to watch. The characters hooked me, the plots were usually driven by said characters, and at that point I realized that this medium is something that I truly enjoy. Being alone got me to watch anything that I wanted to watch at any time of the day (even 3am-4am). Because I had all the freedom I could imagine, I watched countless titles and discovered that anime isn’t simply for kids; anime is a medium that expresses other people’s love for storytelling, character growth, and even political intrigue. Anime is everything that I could ask for, and without watching all of those shitty fucking shows that I once did I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be watching seasonal anime and writing this blog, I wouldn’t be able to follow and interact with the people I do on here and Twitter, and I wouldn’t have a clue as to what could be considered a good animated show.
I’m also curious about y’all…my readers:
What got you into anime? Was there a specific title you watched that opened the door to countless others and then the vortex of the anime gods sucked you in and you couldn’t stop and the darkness of the realm overtook your body, mind, and soul and you were doomed to be an anime fan for eternity?
Thanks for reading!